How To Make An 11 Year Old Miserable
It was meant to be a lovely mother-daughter outing and I was really looking forward to it.
Do you know how long I’ve waited for one of my children to be old enough to accompany me to a movie *I* want to see? No? The clue’s in the title really- eleven years. I had waited eleven years for this day. That’s a lot of nappies, tantrums, grazed knees, tears, broken nights, uneaten meals and dirty washing.
As far as I could tell, she was looking forward to it as well. One to one time is a rare thing in our family so the kids know to make the most of it. She had been listening to the album on her iPod , so she knew all the songs. I assumed this meant she had some idea of the story line as well. I was wrong.
I had seen the stage show many child-free years ago, back home in New Zealand. I can remember thinking it was good but the emotional side of it hadn’t made a lasting impact on me. I certainly didn’t remember it being too much for an 11 year old and besides the movie was rated 12A. This means that if you are over 12, you can see it without an adult. So how bad could it be?
Well, first of all there are the trailers. They covered topics like the best man at a wedding having to have sex with the bridesmaids( who were both small girls), touched on the subject of oral sex and actually showed a couple doing it ‘doggy style’. Nice. I have had ‘The Talk’ with DD but I was hoping not to have to discuss sexual positions in detail just yet. I chose not to acknowledge what was going on on screen while we were in a crowded cinema , but from the look on her face I could tell she had taken it on board. My eldest never lets anything lie, so I look forward to that conversation.
The the movie started and I was struck with worry that DD might find it a bit boring. It’s a bit epic and the start is drawn out. But no, we were both engrossed within by the first ten minutes and watched, rapt, as the story unfolded. Some bits were a little risque; explaining the concept of prostitution was quite challenging and some bits of Master In The House made me squirm a little.
However, what I hadn’t allowed for was DD’s sensitive nature. She was absolutely beside herself in the death scenes and was almost hysterical when the little street urchin was shot. She kept asking me to promise that it was only acting and that no one had actually died. Thankfully, I got her to close her eyes when Javert leapt to his death.
In the end we were both blubbering messes, for different reasons. Les Miserables, the movie, was brilliantly done and so moving but DD was traumatised by the emotions she had experienced watching it, and I felt awful about not thinking things through in more detail. A few days later. things have settled down and DD says she is glad she’s seen the movie but she just didn’t enjoy it at the time.
I think Les Miserable is probably more suitable for children age 12 and above. If your child is not of a sensitive nature, then they will probably cope but some of the themes explored are quite adult, and some of the violence is quite graphic. You may feel more relaxed watching it with a group of friends or even by yourself.